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Anxiety and Truth in the 2018 Hurricane Season

Last night I had my first panic attack related to the onset of hurricane season. I have not had a panic attack like this since before Hurricane Harvey. Yesterday I spent a lot of time listening to more recovery stories from people in our community and helping as many as I could with their financial situations. Last night I went to a support group for those wanting to talk about their fears and anxieties related to the storm. We spoke about hurricane preparedness and what the community was doing to make ready for hurricane season. The consensus between me and those who work for the county was that regardless of what happens this hurricane season, we will be ready to begin the recovery effort over again if necessary. I even said my go-to line, "Everything will be ok." I do believe that, by the way. Everything will be ok.

But then it happened, a little after 1:30 a.m. I woke up and my mind started racing. My house isn't completely ready for another storm just yet. If we had to evacuate, where would we go? I don't know if I have the emotional energy to prepare and evacuate my family, let alone get my church ready. How will my children handle another evacuation? Harvey was devastating emotionally for my elderly mother. Will she be able to do it all again? What if we are on vacation when a storm hits? What will we do with our cat? My mind raced for well over an hour trying to come up with answers to these questions and others. I felt that familiar irrational need to be in control clashing with the horrible reality that I can control very little. My heart raced along with my mind. The adrenaline was flowing. By the time it passed I was emotionally and physically exhausted.

When this happens to me, what I need most is the truth. My imagination is able to come up with an infinite number of possible scenarios, all of them horrible, all requiring some kind of plan or solution. I panic. I am afraid I won't be equal to the task and all will be lost. I fear being exposed as a failure because I did not make adequate preparation for my family, my property, my church, my community, South Texas, and so on, and so on, and so on!

I have no control over how I feel. But what do I KNOW? What is the truth? The truth is, even if the worst should happen, God is still present in power. I am not promised I will escape my trials unscathed, I am promised a way through them. My family is more resilient than I think. Property can be replaced, at least mostly. Everything will be fine.

When I come face to face with a reality I cannot control it is fitting that I embrace my limitations and stand on what I know or believe to be true. When I can do this, I tend to calm down. I am not supposed to be the hero of the story, God is. It is ok for me to be weak, needy, broken, and helpless.

The Apostle Paul says in Philippians 4:6-9,
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

I am praying that the peace of Jesus Christ will guard the hearts and minds of all those in Aransas County as make our way together through the hurricane season of 2018. We can do this.


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